Welcome to SENSE-Cog October 2018 Newsletter!
Welcome to the second issue of SENSE-Cog News! We hope these bi-annual newsletters will inform you about the SENSE-Cog programme and update you on our progress to date and our plans for the future. This edition will focus on our team in Nicosia.
SENSE-Cog at a glance
A randomised controlled trial of sensory support to improve mental well-being in people with dementia and their caregivers.
Five sites are participating to the trial: Manchester (UK), Dublin (Ireland), Nice (France), Nicosia (Cyprus) and Athens (Greece). The trial protocol has been finalised in January 2018.
To date, three out of the five sites (Manchester, Nicosia and Athens) have received ethical approval to begin the recruitment. The site in Nice is expected to start the inclusions in October, the site in Dublin is still waiting for the feedback and approval of the Ethical Committee.
Nine dyads (participant and companion) have been screened and eight dyads have been included in Manchester.
SENSE-Cog at Work
SENSE-Cog@ British Society of Gerontology annual conference on Ageing in an Unequal World
The annual conference of the British Society of Gerontology (4th-6th July 2018) was attended by 650 delegates from 30 countries. The conference theme focussed on the topic of ‘ageing in an unequal world’.
The Manchester SENSE-Cog team convened a symposium on Sensory impairment and dementia: Impact, investigation, intervention and involvement, and our colleague James Nazroo, as the plenary keynote speaker on inequality, opened the conference with a talk on inequalities in later life and their consequences for health and well-being – see his paper summarising this topic http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/12/1533 The well attended symposium was chaired by Iracema Leroi and included papers given by Asri Maharani, Wai Wai Kent Yeung, Jahanara Miah and Emma Hooper. The papers covered issues relating to methodology, patient and public involvement, epidemiology and intervention studies.
Brucker International Special Symposium
Iracema Leroi presented at the Brucker International Special Symposium in Texas. Iracema talked about the associations among hearing, vision and cognitive impairment over time, and how to adapt assessment tools for the combined occurrence of these impairments and about the home-based intervention to support hearing and vision functioning to improve dementia-related outcomes and how ‘patient and public voice’ principles can be used to inform the field.
News from University of Athens
These past months the research team has been working towards the implementation and the dissemination of the SENSE-Cog programme. The dissemination, through articles in newspaper and oral presentations in congresses and in public events, have raised the interest of the public and of professionals in the field. Currently, since all necessary steps have been taken (ethical approval, good clinical practice training, Site Initiation Visit for the RCT), we are working on the recruitment of patients for the RCT, whereas the recruitment for the validation study will begin soon.
Regarding the Research Users Group that has been formed in Athens, the Research Awareness Training has been successfully completed and evaluated and all members of the team are looking forward for next meetings and their involvement, as well as for the implementation of this programme.
Meet the team @Nicosia
Professor Fofi Constantinidou is Director of the Center for Applied Neuroscience (CAN) and Professor of Language Disorders and Clinical Neuropsychology and an expert on the neuropsychological outcomes of acquired neurological disorders. Fofi is the national PI for the clinical trials arm of SENSE-Cog. She has received several awards, including the 2013 Experienced Researcher Award of the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation for her work on the Neurocognitive Study on Aging (NEUROAGE), the first longitudinal study on cognitive aging in Cyprus.
Dr. Chryssoula Thodi, Clinical Audiologist, is Associate Professor of Audiology at European University Cyprus. She is the Cyprus Newborn Hearing Screening Program Consultant Audiologist, in charge of diagnostic evaluations and quality control. Dr. Thodi’s clinical experience focuses on investigation of hearing and balance disorders using behavioral and physiological measures, and on quality of life of people with hearing loss. She is widely recognized in the community for her contributions to hearing and balance rehabilitation with amplification and vestibular interventions.
Anna Pavlina Charalambous has a Doctoral Degree in Sensory and Cognitive. She is working as a Research Coordinator and Postdoctoral researcher for SENSE-Cog. Her research interests include anxiety and anxiety disorders, mental well-being, personality, cognition and emotion relations and cognitive assessment.
Nicosia Research User Group Perspective
Our involvement in the Research User Group has been very interesting, I didn’t at first believe that it would be so helpful. The team approached us with questions from the researchers, and coming here and discussing various issues and providing us with lots of important information I think has been helpful for us and encouraged us in expressing our ideas and concerns in such a way, we have contributed to the program.
Welcome to the SENSE-Cog team!
Jenna Littlejohn – Postdoctoral research fellow. Jenna’s background is in Clinical Neuroscience, with a special interest in neurodegeneration and dementia. Jenna has recently completed a PhD in Translational Neurospychology at the University of Sheffield (UK), where she was investigating the links between different components of hearing loss and how these influence cognition in healthy elderly and people living with dementia. Jenna joined the University of Manchester in March this year, to continue work into this area. The project, part funded by the charity Deafness Support Network, aims to identify how sensory impairment is taken into account in memory clinics and to advise clinicians how best to diagnose and manage patients with comorbid cognitive and sensory impairments. Already, interesting results from a wide-scale survey of clinicians have been found; clinicians in the UK are aware of the overlaps between sensory and cognitive impairment, but they do not routinely screen for sensory impairment nor do they know how this would influence the diagnostic or care pathway. Next steps will identify (in more detail) the challenges to screening sensory impairment in memory clinics, and work to advise clinicians on how to best take sensory impairment into account.
Nisha Chauhan, Research Assistant, has recently joined the SENSE-Cog team, and she is assisting the SENSE-Cog care home study. She has worked in various dementia, learning disability and mental health services since 2011. The SENSE-Cog care home study is looking into moving forward and adapting the sensory intervention into people with dementia with hearing and sensory impairments living in residential aged care facilities both UK and internationally. Currently, knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) surveys are being completed in residential aged care homes and dementia specialist care homes to explore the detection and management of hearing and vision impairments in people with dementia in residential aged care facilities.
Catherine Molony, Sensory Support Therapist, who has joined the Dublin team, has just recently completed her Masters in Psychological Science, which explored the goal setting process used in person centred planning for individuals with severe/profound Intellectual Disabilities and to consider the meaning of quality of life for those individuals and the importance of appropriate support.
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